As we drive up the winding two-mile hill to the lodge we’re staying at, I take a sigh of relief. No more rushing, no more stressing about where we’re going to go next. We can take all the time we need, take in the views and fresh air.
Stowe, Vermont has similar vibes to Bloomington: both are small, welcoming and diverse communities. We've been to Stowe more times than I can remember; going back every year is sentimental and makes me think about all the memories I’ve made there over the years. It feels a bit like home.
Stowe is nestled in the middle of the mountains. While there may be poor service, the views make up for lack of technology. Every direction you look, you see mountains full of trees. Though I’ve never been to Stowe in the fall, I cannot imagine how much more beautiful it would look in October and November.
The lodge where we stayed provided some of the best mountain views I’ve ever seen. The mountains deceive you; they don’t look like they’re that far away, but they’re probably miles from where you’re standing. At this point in the year, the trees are a smattering of various shades of green. They make you want to stay outside longer and not look away.
In the evening, you can see pinpoints of light across the mountains, the glow of houses miles away. It's hypnotizing, looking at the orbs of light, wondering who lives on the other side and what they’re doing.
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Bloomington, on the other hand, could not provide a more boring view. It's all flat; there is no mountain or ocean to gaze at. You look into the distance and depending on where you are you see houses, Kirkwood, probably a CVS. Not much worth admiring unless you drive to Lake Monroe or Brown County.
There's nothing that would make someone say, “Let’s go to Bloomington for vacation!” There is nothing captivating enough to draw many outsiders in.
Besides the mountains, Stowe has numerous hiking trails and shops to explore. Mount Mansfield, the tallest mountain in Vermont, stands at 4,393 feet above sea level. You can drive five miles to a trailhead, and it’s one of the most stressful five miles of your life. The road is curvy and is on the edge of the mountain. There is also a trail, made mostly of rocks, that you can hike to the very top. The views are breath-taking and pale in comparison to anything I’ve ever seen.
Yes, Bloomington and Stowe have their differences, but both are their own version of home for me. Stowe is small and homey. It's the type of town where you can see the same people twice, like in Bloomington. Both have a slower pace of life and don’t rush people to get places.
They let their citizens take their time doing things. There's a lot of room to do whatever you want and relax. There are coffee shops where you can spend hours reading and walking trails if you want to spend time outside. It's not like New York City, where everyone is on the move and there’s a certain pressure to see as much as possible.
Ultimately, while Stowe is the perfect escape from everyday life, it also made me appreciate and keep a more open mind about Bloomington. It reminded me of home.
Isabella Vesperini is a sophomore majoring in journalism and minoring in Italian. While she does appreciate the hidden gems of small towns, she is a city girl at heart.